Reps seek increased budgetary allocation to judiciary

PHOTO: Channelstv

The House of Representatives Committee on Judiciary has urged the federal government to prioritise funding for the Judiciary.At the consideration of this year’s budget proposals of National Judicial Council (NJC), Chairman of the committee, Hon. Aminu Shehu Shagari said in view of the critical role of the judicial sector, there was need to enhance activities in the judiciary.

Shagari said the need for increased budgetary allocation has become necessary in complementing the government’s efforts against corruption.He expressed concern that the 42.8 per cent increase in the 2017 budgetary proposal may not cater for the needs of the judiciary.

Shagari announced that N70 billion was approved for the judiciary in 2016 while the sum of N100 billion was proposed in 2017 Appropriation Bill. According to him, with the introduction of the democracy and the growth of the Nigerian economy, there has been demands for establishment of more courts or special courts due to the increase in number of cases handled by existing courts.

“It is obvious that the work load is too much which is manifested in the delay in the hearing of cases.“The implication of this is that the budget of the judiciary has to be increased proportionally to cope with the load. This will even be more so if special courts are established as some members of the public are presently agitating for,” Shagari said.

The lawmaker, who said that some existing court complexes and rooms were in bad state, called for urgent need to renovate them and complete construction of new ones in order to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of justice delivery in the country.

He added that while the budget of the judiciary in six years remained relatively the same, the various courts and judicial bodies had during the period embarked on massive recruitment.

“However, because there were no corresponding provision for the salaries of the new recruits, the judiciary was compelled to fall back on its contingency votes to pay salaries and allowances of the new recruits,” Shagari said.

According to him the annual budget of the judiciary caters for the salaries and allowances of about 1, 150 serving judicial officers in both federal and state court.

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